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M365 Information Governance: From Zero to Hero.

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

We at Infotechtion have a long history of implementing Information Governance in Microsoft 365 (M365), in-fact we have published countess blog posts exploring every element of M365 and Governance you can think of, from Introducing Record Labels in SharePoint Online, to Managing your organisations' Physical Records and exploring the Licensing options with E3 and E5 Compliance with M365.

If your organisation has already started their Information Governance journey, understands how M365 can ensure information is managed securely, is easy to find and facilitates collaboration in the new normal of remote and hybrid working, then explore the wealth of information available to continue your journey into its next phase.

If you're reading this and asking: "but Alex, I know we need to implement this 'Information Governance' stuff but I don't know where to start" then this is the blog for you. As Information Governance Project Manager, I present the the key success factors for an implementation journey.


M365 Information Governance: From Zero to Hero.

Step 1: Preparing your Vision, Goals and Critical Success Factors for Information Governance success


Before jumping into all of the Information Governance, Records Management and Compliance tools available to you in M365, your organisation needs to define its Vision and articulate the value of implementing best practice governance in helping to achieve the overall goals of the organisation. What is the purpose and what are you looking to achieve?

An example Vision to help get you started:

Information needs to be fully digitalized, easily accessible, foster informed decision making, and facilitate accountability, transparency, and collaboration. Implementation of information governance needs to allow all personnel to create, retrieve, consume, and retain all information in a secure way.

The Vision provides a clear purpose and value for implementing Information Governance (IG) and should be the starting point for any IG project. At this point, it's worth considering the scope of Information Governance and what you are looking to achieve. M365 provides Retention and Records Management, eDiscovery, Data Privacy and Security and Legal Compliance capabilities which should be considered as part of this process:

M365 Information Governance Capabilities


The Vision can be built upon with Goals, which are actionable elements and help put the Vision into real terms that can be implemented within the organisation.

Example Goals to help get you started:

  1. Personnel with the appropriate access privileges can find the information they are looking for when they need it (user productivity)

  2. Content remains accessible and usable for as long as it is needed (business continuity)

Goals should be clear, concise and understandable at all levels of the organisation.

Critical Success Factors

Finally, establishing Critical Success Factors (CSFs) enables you to provide clear, actionable and measurable steps to your Information Governance Implementation.

An example CSF focused on user adoption to help get you started:

Successful implementation will require a comprehensive and pragmatic Change and Adoption approach that ensures:

  • Communication and training that enable staff to adopt the new ways of working and managing information following best practices

CSFs provide the framework for implementing your Goals for Information Governance in the organisation, all of which help to deliver the overall Vision and achieve value from the implementation.

Step 2: Developing an M365 Architecture and Adoption Roadmap

Once your Information Governance Strategy is in place, it's time to look at how M365 will help achieve the strategy - but where to start?

Define your requirements and user stories

Before implementing any strategy into a technology, you need to understand your user community.

  • Conduct a workforce analysis to identify employee needs and ways of working

  • Group the workforce into Personas. Administrator, Analyst, Information Manager, Operational

  • Define User Stories to elicit requirements for working with M365. "As an Analyst I need to upload documents to a secure repository enabled for collaboration"

Developing an Architecture Blueprint

Now that you understand your requirements, it is time to develop an Architecture Blueprint to detail the structure of your Information Governance in M365. The Blueprint should clearly describe how the available tools will be designed, configured and integrated within the context of your Information Governance Vision and Strategy.

Example M365 Architecture

Developing an Adoption Roadmap

No Information Governance Implementation will be successful without a clear Adoption Roadmap. Your user community must adopt the new ways of working - without this the benefits received from any project will provide minimal value to the organisation.

Step 3: Onboarding your User Community and Operations Handover

Congratulations! You have developed a clear Information Governance Strategy, designed your Architecture Blueprint and Adoption Roadmap and therefore ready to 'switch on' the new ways of working to reap all the benefits...


Onboarding your user community

While your Adoption Roadmap will highlight the need to train your user community, developing a clear Learning Pathway for your end-users is essential to ensure a successful adoption and Information Governance implementation.

Your end user community will comprise multiple personal, each with their own needs, who require an individualised and relevant learning pathway. A 'one fits all' approach has proven to be unsuccessful when considering user adoption. A good analysis of your audience and a human centred, personal based approach is key to your success here,

User Personas and Training Options

Set your Operational Teams up for success

Many organisations forget that their IT and Operation Teams are end-users too. Operation and Admin teams will require comprehensive support and training in the new M365 infrastructure. These groups will be critical in sustaining the Information Vision and Goals that you’ve put in place. Fully onboarded operational teams together with your successful user adoption approach, will ensure the Critical Successful Factors developed in Step 1 are measured favorably and clear value has been added to the organisation.

M365 Information Governance: From Zero to Hero.

Well done, you are now an Information Hero! If you are looking for help in achieving your organisations' Vision for Information Governance in M365 and beyond, we can help. Please contact the author of this post or contact us for more information.

#informationgovernance #recordsmanagement #retention #M365 #Microsoft365 #Regtech

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